Two Takes: Big Gigantic Gives Stellar Performance at Upstate Concert Hall

Some shows are too big for just one review. For Big Gigantic, we sent UpstateLIVE staff photographers Chris De Cotis and Tom Miller to Upstate Concert Hall to capture the show. Here are their takes and photos.

Review and photos by Tom Miller:

Big Gigantic is the dynamic duo of Dominic Lalli (saxophone) and Jeremy Salken (drums). The pair brought their unique style of improvisational, livetronica music to the Upstate Concert Hall on February 12th. The high-energy performance, amazing music, and mind-blowing light show made for a memorable evening. An eclectic blend of tunes from all four of the bands albums; Wide Awake (2009), Fire It Up (2009), A Place Behind the Moon (2010), and Nocturnal (2012) had the crowd jumping and dancing at every beat.

Los Angeles DJ, Kill Paris and Chicago-based DJ Manic Focus opened the show.

Review and photos by Christopher De Cotis

On Tuesday, February 12th, Big Gigantic brought their 2013 Winter Tour to Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY. Having just seen them a month ago on Jam Cruise, I knew as soon as the show was announced that I was going to be there.  I’ve been a big fan of the duo after seeing them for the first time at the 2010 Nateva Festival in Oxford, Maine.  As I saw coverage of the first shows of this tour, I began to wonder what it was going to look like at Upstate Concert Hall.
The stage was covered with a large riser and a row of light panels from the band’s current light rig.  Drummer Jeremy Salken’s drum kit was on the right side of the stage and a table was set up on the left for the DJ equipment and laptop computers used by Manic Focus, Kill Paris and saxophonist Dominic Lalli.  The two opening sets sounded good and there was a short break before Big Gigantic took the stage.  The crowd had continued to grow throughout Kill Paris’ set and most people I asked were excited to see the band for the first time.  Their set was about an hour long and after the band left the stage the cheering crowd called them right back out for an encore and they played for almost twenty more minutes.
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Lotus Interview and Review: January 30th at the Westcott Theater

Lotus, the notorious EDM act-turned-jamband played a solid sold-out show at The Westcott Theater on a Wednesday, January 30th, making quite the comeback with their tenth album, The Build. The band continues to enchant listeners as they genre-bend their way into an idiosyncratic combination of funk and EDM, proving to be more relevant now than ever.

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Before the show, I got the chance to talk to Jesse Miller, the bassist and sampler for the band.

Gauraa Shekhar: Your new record The Build is recorded live to analog. How did that come along considering the wide range of instrumentation?

Jesse Miller: We have been following the process over the last few years. It is a classic 70s thing, you know—with basic tracks and everything.

GS: That’s really cool. In The Build the rich texture really comes through, especially in songs like “Middle Road”. How do you guys produce music within a budget without compromising the quality?

JM: Most of it was done by myself and Luke. We rehearsed the process before we went into the studio and relied on a lot of software to help us. So we didn’t waste time and money on extra studio hours.

GS: That’s very practical. What kind of a demographic are you catering to with such genre-bending music? Is it easier to find the venue that matches your sound or do you have to pay special attention to it?

JM: I don’t think there is a specific demographic that we cater to but venues are definitely important. We aim for high-energy shows. Sometimes, we play for a younger crowd but there really is no specific age.

GS: Performing live is obviously a great aspect of your music. How do you mix it up on stage to keep the audience entranced . . . I mean, besides the lights of course.

JM: Improvisation, for sure. We try to mix it up by changing the instruments and arranging the songs a little differently.

GS: Since you guys incorporate a lot of computer generated digital sounds in your music, how do you put a different spin on it whilst performing live?

JM: There are certain things that are important to pull out of line…sometimes, we play around with the melody and sometimes we change up the instruments. We also trigger samples on stage.

GS: Oh, wow! Well, what is it like having a 47 days tour?

JM: 47 days in a tour can be hectic. But it allows us to develop a sound and a rapport.

GS: I’m sure. Bands have issues but you guys seem to stuck together as a band through all these years. What are some of the main things that glue you guys together?

JM: Well, it’s mostly the work ethic and the drive. We’ve been at this for such a long time and we’re really passionate about the music.

GS: As are we! Looking forward to seeing you in ’Cuse on the 30th, Jesse!

JM: Looking forward to the show!

As promised, Lotus gave those looking to get a high-energy head start to their weekend more than what they had bargained for. As I walked straight off the campus to their venue, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had walked straight into a Tim Burton set with all its entailing paraphernalia. I watched inebriated girls in princess costumes flail their way to the front row and men leaping out of crumbling bathroom doors with glowing light sabers. The night was fecund with possibilities  as if anything could happen. Excited fans drove in all the way from Rochester and Watertown, yelling out to anybody willing to listen: “This is the fourth time I’m seeing them perform”, “I just watched their show in New York last week” and “They just keep getting better each time”.  It was more than evident that Lotus’ electronica sound sustained their fan base over a span of fourteen years. And let me tell you, the infamous interplay of stage lights was only the beginning. Only a band like Lotus could turn a dance party into a religious experience. Lotus fueled the room with time-transcending energy and a motley crowd checked their baggage at the door, walked in, simply wrapped their heads around the music— and let their hair down.

Stuff Your Face With Bass: Jungle Rumble

Get out the glow sticks and neon clothes, bust out the pinned hats and your rage faces because Rave Season is back! The first rave of the season blew up at the Washington Armory in Albany, NY this past Friday September 21st. PeepThis Entertainment hosted the Stuff Your Face with Bass: Jungle Rumble event, urging attendees to unleash their inner animals and go wild.

The first few minutes of entering the venue and being thrown into the scene, can be more than chaotic and intimidating. Push past the main lobby and make your way onto the wide dance floor, when suddenly the bass drops. ERUPTION! The crowd goes wild and you give in. The beat hits you with a feeling of immense relief to let go and party. Eric David, TrevMunz , Bare and DieselBoy had control of the main stage, pumping out huge sound waves, all about the buildup.

If the large crowd was too overwhelming, there were 2 other stages set up in rooms located on the left and right side of the venue. The smaller rooms provided artists a chance to shine and show their talent in a more intimate setting. Lions Den on the left hosted Deyo life, Notixx , Evac Protocol and Aire Atlantica. The Waterhole on the right hosted JP Mac, Primitive, Fitted (Hip-Hop MC), Nikolai & Hoops, SubSet and J Demonic. One of my favorite acts took place in the Lions Den, left room stage where I caught Evac Protocol. The angry, high energy techno felt so good after a long work week. The dark beats were ideal for a Friday night and a sure thing to unleash the beast within.

PeepThis company member and cofounder, Kyle Faulkner, had this to say, ““This was our 5th installment and numbers were average. I can proudly say that after this show over 15,000 peeps have stuffed their faces! What started as a pun on thanksgiving since our first show in November of 2011, has turned into a popular catch phrase for the EDM scene. If there is another SYFWB it’ll be a super sized 1 year anniversary party.”

For more information on the biggest parties, like PeepThis on Facebook. PeepThis will be hosting Masquerave at the Oneonta Theatre on October 11th and at the Washington Ave Armory October 26th.